Obituary of Philip Martin Harrigan Sr.
Philip Martin James Harrigan Sr. was born August 9, 1925, in Detroit, Michigan. He was the youngest of eight children born to William P. and Mary Evelyn (Rouen) Harrigan. Phil attended Dearborn High School, transferring from Sacred Heart to take Physics. Graduating early in January 1944 he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps at 6:30 am the next day. After serving his country honorably Phil enrolled at the University of Detroit where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. On October 4, 1952, in Detroit, Philip married Frances Veronica Miller and together the couple were blessed with eleven children.
He was an engineer’s engineer, and optimized everything in his life, from fertilizer per square foot to pH of rinse water. He worked at the Enrico Fermi Nuclear Generating Station first breeder reactor, where he was on station during the 1966 partial meltdown and led the investigation team developing a novel extended optical borescope to observe the failure point. Phil was employed by Detroit Edison until his retirement in1986. He continued working for several years as a nuclear industry consultant.
Phil was energetic, inventive, and always on the go. He was an avid golfer, still hitting the links at 95. He enjoyed photography, dancing to big band music and tinkering with cars. He loved to create and design electronic gadgets and invented The Plugging Indicator - a liquid metal flow meter for sodium, used as a nuclear reactor coolant. He loved to invest in the stock market and had become so successful that he wrote a book about investing for engineers. He and Fran enjoyed family gatherings, and traveling to destinations like Ireland, Israel, Italy, and Rome, and to Florida in their motorhome. Frances passed away in 2002 after 50 years of marriage and many adventures.
At 87 he was fortunate to find Theresa M. Marchese to share his life with. They were married on June 15, 2013, at St. Mary’s Parish. The couple enjoyed dancing, movies, and watching the birds at the feeder he filled daily. At St. Mary’s he was part of Michael’s Men, the Resurrection Choir, and served as a Lector. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus Council #1266 in Monroe and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Philip Martin Harrigan Sr., age 97, of Monroe passed away peacefully at his home on Thursday, June 1, 2023. He was preceded in death by his parents, William and Mary Evelyn Harrigan, his first wife, Frances, a daughter in infancy, Mary, five sisters, Mary Agnes, Jean, Constance “Connie”, Virginia, and Catherine, two brothers, Bertram (Bert) and John (Jack), a granddaughter, Sheila Dwornik, and a grandson, Patrick Bickerstaff.
To cherish his memory, Philip leaves his loving wife of nine years: Theresa M. Harrigan, children Philip Harrigan Jr. of Monroe, Dennis (Helen) Harrigan of Monroe, Kathleen (James) Hunter of Windsor, Connecticut, Neil Harrigan of Allen Park, Brian (Gail) Harrigan of Romulus, Michael (Denise) Harrigan of New Haven, Indiana, Sara (Terry) Wilk of Interlochen, Paula (Jimmy) Bickerstaff of Rollingstone, Minnesota, Mark Harrigan of Monroe, and Margaret “Peggy” Steffens of Traverse City; twenty grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.
Friends may gather from 5:00pm until 8:00pm on Thursday June 8, 2023, at Merkle Funeral Service, 2442 North Monroe Street, 48162 (734)384-5185 where the Rosary will be recited at 7:00 pm. He will lie in state Friday June 9 from 10:00 until 11:00 am at St. Mary Catholic Church of Monroe, 127 North Monroe St. preceding the Mass of the Resurrection at 11:00 am with Father David Burgard. The procession to St. Joseph Cemetery for entombment at the Chapel of Serenity Mausoleum will follow. Services will be conducted by the Monroe Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1138.
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